Living in Atenas, we are very lucky that the majority of strong storms do not hit us directly and that is exactly what happened with Hurricane Otto which just passed through the area. Very rarely do hurricanes hit directly Costa Rica in general as they curve North before hitting land. However, if they get close, the Caribbean coast gets hit hard with the heavy rains and winds. Hurricane Otto hit both the Caribbean coast and the Northern area of Costa Rica. Videos are displayed all over social media with the destruction and power of this storm. Here is just one example ( video Upala ).
With tragedy, the best in human nature is often seen. The community of Atenas has collection sites at the Municipality, the Red Cross, the grocery stores, churches, and with private groups who are gathering supplies to take up to the disaster victims. The amount of giving is really overwhelming and amazing. Everyone is doing their part.
I am always impressed with the generosity of people, especially here in our town. Whether it is contributing to the children’s home, to the Angel Tree program, or helping neighbors in need, the community comes together to give. I have even been told by some that they want to help, but just need to know when and how. This giving culture is something that has really been cultivated in Atenas and is a beautiful thing to behold. In addition to being a part of the general Costa Rican culture, I also think it has to do with living in a small town. People look out for each other and come together to help in all kinds of tragedies, large and small.
We had our Thanksgiving lunch on Sunday and were able to be thankful both for the fact that Atenas did not get hit by the hurricane, but that there is so much generosity in this community to help those who were not so fortunate. And a special thanks to all of those volunteers who rushed up to Upala to personally help everyone involved in the tragedy.